C.A. Quintet

Band members               Related acts

- Donnie Chapin - drums (1969)

- Jimmy Erwin - vocals, bass (1966-69)
- Ken Erwin - vocals, trumpet (1966-69)
- Rick Patron - drums, percussion (1966-69)
- Tom Pohling (RIP) - guitar (1966-69)
- Doug Reynolds - keyboards (1966-69)



- none known





Genre: psych

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Trip Thru' Hell

Company: Psycho

Catalog: 12

Country/State: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Year: 1983

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: unauthorized UK repressing with one of the tracks missing

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $40.00


Here's one of the holy grails of the psych collecting community. We've seen people literally willing to sell body parts for an original copy of this obscurity. While the album's good, save those medical costs and consider buying our unauthorized 1983 Psycho reissue (which is missing one channel of sound) for a fraction of the cost of an original pressing ...

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, C.A. Quintet showcased the talents of brothers Jimmy and Ken Erwin (bass and vocals/horns and vocals respectively), the line up rounded out by drummer Rick Patron, guitarist Tom Pohling and keyboardist Doug Reynolds. Starting out as a rather faceless cover band, by 1967 the band had attracted a small fan base and the attention of the local Falcon label which financed a pair of obscure pop-rock singles ("Mickey's Monkey" b/w "I Want You To Love Me Girl" Falcon catalog number 70 and "Blow To My Soul" b/w "She's Got To Be True" Falcon catalog number 71). While neither single sold, they attracted the attention of the equally obscure Minnesota-based Candy Floss label which promptly signed the band. 

Released in 1968, "Trip Thru' Hell" was easily one of the year's odder concept pieces. Produced and largely written by Ken, material such as the extended two-part instrumental title track (bother Jimmy kicking in a great bass pattern), the freak out "Cold Spider" and "Sleepy Hollow Lane" sported dark, disturbing and occasionally drugged out auras. Ervin wasn't the most gifted singer you've ever heard, but buried under the odd arrangements, Philing's jarring guitar, Reynolds' stabbing keyboards and assorted sound effects (bells, anguished female screams, etc.), the results were surprisingly entertaining. Interestingly, although recorded at a small studio, the set sounds great! Top-notch production and the sound effects make it an excellent collection to hear with headphones. Recalling their earlier singles, "Colorado Mourning" (sounding as if it were recorded in a cave) and the horn-propelled "Underground Music" (be sure to check out Philing's freak out double tracked guitar solos), both sport a more conventional blue-eyed soul feel. Elsewhere, "Smooth As Silk" b/w "Dr. of Philosophy" (Candy Floss catalog number 102)) served as the band's third and final single. As mentioned earlier, this one's widely acclaimed as a psych masterpiece. With fewer than 1,000 copies originally printed, the album's become highly sought after and extremely expensive. It's good and well worth hearing, however for most folks, probably isn't worth the current $1,000 plus asking price. 

"Trip Thru' Hell" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Trip Thru Hell, Pt. 1 (instrumental) (Ken Erwin - Doug Reynolds) - 9:00
2.) Colorado Mourning (Ken Erwin) - 2:10
3.) Cold Spider (Ken Erwin) - 4:38

(side 2)

1.) Underground Music (Ken Erwin) - 4:39
2.) Sleepy Hollow Lane (Ken Erwin) - 1:37
3.) Smooth as Silk (Ken Erwin) - 2:12
4.) Trip Thru Hell, Pt. 2 (Ken Erwin) - 3:30


Genre: psych

Rating: **(2 stars)

Title:  C.A. Quintet Live 1971

Company: private press

Catalog: none

Country/State: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Year: 1984

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: signed by keyboardist Doug Reynolds on front cover

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: 4742

Price: $100.00


This live set was apparently released in the wake of the unexpected success enjoyed by an earlier bootleg release of the group's original studio set.  Supposedly only 500 copies were pressed.  


First the good news. Given the primitive conditions under which this album was recorded, the sound is surprisingly good.  According to Ken Ervin's liner notes, 'This recording was made simply by laying down two microphones on the floor in front of the group.  They just happened to be in the best location for the circumstances.'   Now the bad news.  Capturing the band at what was to be their final performance at Lake Pepin High School, "C.A. Quintet Live 1971" sounds like a band drawing its last creative gasps which was pretty much the situation.  Original singer/bassist Jim Ervin had quit the band leaving brother Jim to switch over to bass.  Drummer Rick Patton was also gone, leaving Donnie Chapin to step in.


So what's this thing sound like?  Well 'Bayou Jam' is a needless side long mixture of popular rock hits including snippets of CCR's 'Down On the Bayou' and The Stones' 'Satisfaction'.  It's listenable, but nothing you couldn't hear on any Friday evening at your local brewpub.  Best thing I can say about it is that the 14 minutes go by quickly (okay the drum solo slows everything down for a couple of minutes).  The Ken Ervin original 'Country Boy' is actually pretty good, though the country-rock sound is a little bit unexpected.  Judging by this track these guys weren't bad in a live setting.  The extended cover of Spirit's 'Fresh Garbage' also has it's moments - notably for giving guitarist Tom Pohling a chance to stretch out.  Certainly not essential, but I've heard far worse.  


 "C.A. Quintet Live 1971" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Bayou Jam - 14:40

(side 2)

1.) Country Boy   (Ken Erwin) - 4:40

2.) Fresh Garbage Jam - 10:10